Gators deliver “tail-kicking” to lethargic Cats

De’Aaron Fox (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

Give ESPN analyst Jay Bilas saying what every Kentucky basketball fan was thinking — or should have been thinking Saturday night.

“This is a tail-kicking right now,” Bilas said late in Florida’s 88-66 victory over visiting Kentucky.

It was Florida’s biggest win ever over Kentucky, and it could have been even bigger. The Gators dominated the boards 54-29. That is 25 more rebounds than UK and the Gators owned the offensive rebounding edge 17-7. Florida made 18 of 27 shots in the second half.

UK’s offense? Malik Monk was scoreless in the first half and 4-for-14 from the field in the game. Isaiah Briscoe was 3-for-10 and had four turnovers. Bam Adebayo was 4-for-10. Dominique Hawkins went 0-for-3 with a season-high three turnovers.

De’Aaron Fox, who had been sick all week, led UK with 19 points on 5-for-11 shooting from the field and 9-for10 at the foul line. He had three assists and three turnovers in 25 minutes. Mychal Mulder was 3-for-6 for 8 points.

There is no statistic for energy. If there was, Florida would have dominated that by an even bigger margin than it did the rebounding.

“They are playing harder than Kentucky,” Bilas said late in the game. “They have all five guys playing hard and together. Kentucky has some guys playing hard, but Florida has five.

“Kentucky can’t get anything going. This has been a disaster and it continues. I can’t remember seeing Kentucky get beat like this.”

Not with a team this talented but UK has now lost three of its last four games and if not for a 30-point second-half performance by Monk against Georgia it would be four straight. Kentucky no longer leads the SEC — South Carolina does.

Kansas, Baylor and West Virginia, also top 10 teams, all lost at home Saturday. Arizona got thumped at Oregon. But Kentucky is jus trending down and down.

Can coach John Calipari change that flow? The answer should be yes. But is it? At this point, I’m not so sure.

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  1. This team and coaching staff are a total TRAIN WRECK…He has lost his mind and his team. To have all this talent, star rankings, preseason accolades to go to Final 4 and possibly win the big one. and then to lose 3 of last 4 is pretty damn disgusting. Many people are saying he cares more about his players cashing big checks at the end of the year, and his own recruiting rankings than he does putting #9 and above on the rafters. You can count me on on this as well. It is unbelievable that Stoops gets off the hot seat and controls all the positive press for January and into February while Cal and his team continue to push for end of year meltdown. Look at the 4 position. Wenyen comes in and gets couple of early baskets and then disppears rest of the game…Willis continues to show he still can’t get control between his ears, and Humphries is a total wasted scholarship. If this total regression continues into March and Cal decides he no longer has it then so be it. He is a mad man out there and probably continues to set records for number of players run into and out of the lineup each game. Still like your team Cal? I know….they are still young.

  2. Hard to watch, maybe the worst Kentucky basketball game I have watched in many years. I wonder what Monk and Briscoe found so funny, as the camera zoomed in, sitting on the bench laughing with seconds to go in a humiliating loss.

  3. Pup, there’s nothing wrong about laughing and smiling regardless .you guys act like we never been down this road before . Right now our ship is sinking but I got faith in to the team andCal the ship will be upright we gotta keep grinding and figure things out. The sun did rise today

  4. We have all witnessed UK team in the past lay an egg, and get beat down. Last night seemed entirely different to me. This team peaked in game 15. Games 16 through 23 have been on a steady steep downward trend. It is not too late, but the countdown clock is getting close to zero for a real correction.

    The frivolity on the bench by Monk, Fox, Bam, and Briscoe as the final seconds ran off the clock for me is completely unacceptable. It should be completely unacceptable to Coach Calipari.

    Has Calipari lost this team? Are there other factors at work, hidden from public view? The Mulder situation completely baffles me because of the inconsistency between Calipari’s public statements and my observations of the events. Sick? Grades? Discipline? Is that what is driving the Fox illness, the Jones illness? The so called Wynyard illness before last night’s game even though he ended up playing significant minutes?

    What the heck is going on Coach!!!!!!

  5. Most comments that I read about the guys laughing and smiling on the bench is no big deal. Life goes on I. Was glad to see it instead there heads be down There always another game to improve on The world is better when people are laughing and smileing

  6. I wish someone would come out on a UK site and state why Malik was laughing…the Florida Student Section was singing Happy Birthday to him. of course he is going to smile and laugh. I thought the worse until I heard the reason and not every one will know why.
    They did have a very bad game…really bad…but they still have a winning season.

  7. Thanks Linda, we live in a world were people jumping in to conclusion without getting the facts. It was good to see guys still up beat regardless the scenario .

    1. I saw very little to be upbeat about unless you were a Gator Cats79. Never heard Happy Birthday being sung either, and even if it was, Monk’s team just got their A$$’s handed to them and all I see is a bunch of guys giggling on the bench, mainly Cal’s future NBA stars. Most coaches I’ve been around would not like it one bit. I’m sure the Gator student body could care less about Monk’s birthday, their team just pulverized the 4tth ranked team in the nation for their must needed signature win, at UK’s expense. Hey, I hope they right the ship, I surely do, but this is not turning into one of my favorite UK basketball teams. Can they still do it? I don’t think so from what I’m seeing. Hope I’m wrong.

  8. Pup you got to remember there 18- 19 kids, I’m sure you weren’t an angel when you were there age. They represent UK with pride it may not be the way you like it, but I’ll take these kids any day.

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